THE FIRST DEATH

Poena Damni Book 3

cover THE FIRST DEATH
Title: THE FIRST DEATH
Publisher: Shoestring Press
Translated by: Shorsha Sullivan
Published: Oct 2017
Edition: 2nd Edition
Pages: 58
Format: paperback or kindle
ISBN: 1-899549-43-0

Despite being first in the publication history of the Poena Damni trilogy, Dimitris Lyacos's The First Death is the latest installment of the narrative sequence. A booklet found by the protagonist of Z213: EXIT during the course of his voyage, The First Death tells the story of a marooned man on a desert island - or has him tell it. In a sequence of fourteen sections the crippled protagonist struggles for his survival. Through an inexhaustible fecundity of imagery and a sense of unquenchable vitality in the midst of denial and despair a relentless fight develops between the character and the elements, as well as his physical and mental disintegration. Lyacos brings to bear a formidable culture in which fragments of ancient Greek are embedded in a supple modern idiom, and a variety of classical and biblical references are seamlessly integrated into the text. The violence and intensity of his vision combined with the headlong energy of his verse reveal a tragic inner landscape. The protagonist here could be a modern Philoctetes or an inverted version of Crusoe; but as the ordeal on the island comes to an end one is not finally sure whether one has encountered simply a wretched stump of humanity or, rather, a proudly self-mutilated god.

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Excerpts VIII & X
Trad. Shorsha Sullivan

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An interview with Dimitris Lyacos
John Taylor Interviewing Dimitris Lyacos | May 2018

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THE FIRST DEATH by Dimitris Lyacos (Second Edition)
Your Impossible Voice | Oct 2018

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